Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

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How effectively does Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood expose the suffering of people living under a repressive regime?

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This graphic novel explores the realities of life under a repressive regime incredibly well. The relationship that Marjane has with her uncle exemplifies the way in which a regime can take away everything and everybody that is important to somebody through their inability to tolerate dissent and difference. It is of course not just Marjane's uncle who experiences the hard fist of a repressive regime. Note what happened to Marjane's mother when she was assaulted by some men:

They insulted me. They said that women like me should be pushed up against a wall and fucked. And then thrown in the garbage. ...And that if I didn't want that to happen, I should wear the veil...

This relates to the Islamic regime that took control of Iran in 1979. The fundamentalist, patriarchal and Islamic leadership believed that all women should wear traditional Muslim dress, and that those who didn't could be treated in any way they wanted. For the author, to wear traditional Islamic dress is to lose your individuality and identity, and this is one way in which the brutal realities of living under a fundamentalist regime is explored. All in all, the text conveys the kind of fear and terror of living under such conditions, as your rights are gradually stripped away and you live in fear of losing your own life or the lives of those who are nearest to you. 

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